Not so fast, Rider fans.
Saturday afternoon it was looking very likely that receiver Naaman Roosevelt was going to be back in the line-up against the Edmonton Eskimos.
As of Sunday, that was nothing but a dream.
The Riders star receiver sprained his knee late in the game against the Toronto Argonauts, but managed to play through it. A day later he started feeling pain and the club moved him to the six-game injured list.
On Saturday, head coach Chris Jones felt comfortable enough to remove him and let him practice; however, it ended up being too soon.
“We were hoping he was a little further along,” Jones admitted Sunday afternoon. “If it was the Grey Cup, he could probably go out and play but it’s one of those deals where we’re just going to try to give him some weeks to try to get a little more healthy before he’s able to contribute to the football team.”
Roosevelt said he felt good after practice, but was not available to speak with the media on Sunday after he was moved back to the injured list.
Jones said if it were up to Roosevelt he would play on Monday.
“But, like I said, after watching (his knee) we braced it up and he’s got that big brace and it’s a just a situation where he won’t be able to play at 100 and we don’t want to risk further injury.”
It’s not known now exactly when Roosevelt might be ready to return to the lineup and they’ll be taking it week by week.
Fortunately, the Roughriders will not be without wide receiver Shaq Evans who took a hard tumble during practice on Thursday and missed practice on Saturday. Jones confirmed he’ll be ready to go Monday.
“As of yesterday, we didn’t know if that would be the case but he bounced back this morning, and said that he was completely healthy and ready to roll,” the head coach said.
Roosevelt’s absence leaves room to keep Kenny Shaw, who had a strong debut for the green and white last week, in the line-up. The Roughriders have also slotted Canadian receiver Devon Bailey ahead of Canadian Josh Stanford for this week – a week that Jones said is starting to feel more and more like the playoffs.
“Hopefully we’ve done enough to prepare them that they’re ready for this moment in their house – and playing an opponent that’s been a very tough opponent, that’s won a lot of football games with a guy that’s been an MOP, that’s won a Grey Cup and a guy that’s been in these situations before,” Jones mused, before adding that Reilly will be ready to strike after a 30-3 loss to the Bombers.
“I assure you that nobody’s working any harder than him. He’s a guy that’s got a lot of pride. You’re going to get his best shot tomorrow, that’s what I just told the football team. Everybody’s talking all bad about them like they were talking all bad about us a few weeks ago, so we can’t get ahead of ourselves and we need to remember that they’re going to come out of that corner fighting.”
Here's the depth chart for the Riders versus the Eskimos.
Despite practicing yesterday, no Naaman Roosevelt. pic.twitter.com/S2wnXhm8pz
— Arielle Zerr (@arielle_zerr) October 7, 2018
Depth Chart Day!
Here is how we will line-up on Monday when we take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
— Edmonton Eskimos (@EdmontonEsks) October 7, 2018